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Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Honoring Lillian

Today marks the 80th anniversary of my grandmother Lillian's death. It is Lillian's Yahrzeit. A Yahrzeit (Yiddish for "a year's time") is the anniversary of the death of a loved one. 
More on Yahrzeit  

Lillian died on September 23, 1934. 
She was 33 years old. 
My Dad was only 7 years old at the time.

The first thing I saw on my computer this morning was this story:  The story of Kristi Szekely.  A story similar to my own. Kristi inherited her BRCA1 gene mutation from her father who had inherited it from his mother. Kristi's grandmother was also in her early 30's when she passed from both breast and ovarian cancer. 

So today, seeing that very similar BRCA1 story, Lillian was sweetly nudging me again--like she so often does. Not only to remind me we are related by DNA, but also by heart and spirit. Over the years I have felt Lillian's pull, guidance, warnings, & love. We may not have a traditional grandmother/granddaughter relationship -- one where I can hop up on her lap, share lunch, or spend the afternoon playing cards or going shopping. However, our kinship and connection is undeniable. 
“Make my death mean something Amy, use your voice, press forward Amy, share, it’s the right thing to do.”

And so today, I honor you Lillian, by lighting a Yahrzeit candle, writing this post, and continuing to share my story. Our story. to find a genetic counselor near you.

Portion taken from my BRCA memoir: Resurrection Lily which has taken me longer to complete and a lot harder to write than I ever anticipated.     I am taking the lead from Lillian, she has just a bit more she wants me to include. I will keep you posted on its release.
Amy Byer Shainman

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